ROCKINGHAM — The race is on.
Following a “successful” test Thursday with Hoosier tires, officials with the CARS Tour announced Friday morning that it would be bringing a race to Rockingham Speedway and Entertainment Complex later this year.
“After extensive testing and selecting a compound that meets our safety standards we are excited to be heading to The Rock with our Late Model Stocks on a new date of November 6, 2021,” reads a Friday morning post on the CARS Tour Facebook page.
The race was originally slated for March 6, but was postponed after the second test in late December to develop a new tire compound for the legendary track, which hasn’t hosted a full-track race since 2013.
Race promoters Charlie Hansen and Mike Stodder said in December that if the race had gone on as scheduled, driving teams would have had to change tires twice in a 75-lap race.
Short Track Scene reported that a small piece of pavement on the exit of Turn 2 broke off and punctured the grille of a car during the Dec. 22 test, which led to a decision to use restrictor plates.
“Everything went real well,” Jack McNelly, CARS Tour owner, told Short Track Scene following Thursday’s test. “We had 12 sets of tires and they were exactly what we wanted. We got the wear factor out of them and they still had speed. The drivers were real comfortable with them as well, so I think we all went home pretty happy.”
There will be open testing for teams on Sept. 18, Oct. 30 and Nov. 5.
Justin Jones, vice president of operations for the speedway, told the RO that several positive comments were made about the recent renovations at the track since the December test.
Those renovations include “a lot of repainting,” and landscaping, according to Jones. He added that they are also installing fiberoptics and “gaining ground” on the paintball field for the inaugural First Responders Royale in June.
He said there will be more changes in the next 30-45 days at the speedway property as they work on “bringing it back to its former glory.”
“We’re excited,” Jones said about the November race. “We’re ready to begin the journey of bringing racing back to the Rock.”